The purpose of this paper is to explain the miraculous rise of the mobile phone industry in China in particular and China’s impressive industrial growth in recent decades in general.
This paper uses qualitative or story-telling approach for empirical analysis. Specifically, it uses case studies to illustrate the authors’ arguments.
Utilizing the theory of imitative strategies of latecomer firms and I.M. Kirzner’s concept of entrepreneurial alertness, this paper argues that adaptive entrepreneurs in China’s phone industry survive by being alert to profit opportunities, flexible and adaptable to the changing environments. With limited resources and low technological capabilities at the beginning, Chinese phone makers conduct replication via reverse engineering. Through entrepreneurial learning and imitation, they are able to make indigenous or incremental innovation. The modified models with functions compatible to different groups of consumers and sold at low prices are able to penetrate the low-end markets in the Third World nations.
The authors’ explanation on the success of China’s mobile phone industry sheds light on broader China’s industrial growth as a result of economic reform.
Most studies on China’s mobile phone industry focus on technological analysis, without acknowledging the role of entrepreneurship. This study fills the gap.
The authors thank the two anonymous referees of this journal for the useful comments. All remaining errors are the authors.
This article forms part of a special section “China’s development strategy”, guest edited by Lok Sang Ho.
Yu, F.L.T. and Kwan, D.S. (2019), "Entrepreneurial learning in China’s low-end mobile phone market", Asian Education and Development Studies, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 309-323. https://doi.org/10.1108/AEDS-07-2018-0118Download as .RIS
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